Stanley have acted swiftly to put their Football League fine behind them, bringing Lee Molyneux back to the Store First Stadium.
It was announced on Monday that the club had been penalised as manager James Beattie is still to gain a UEFA coaching licence, as required by Football League regulations.
Supporters had been asking how the situation was allowed to arise as Beattie was appointed last May and was yet to enrol on a relevant course by the time the league held a disciplinary hearing earlier this month.
But the return of fans’ favourite Molyneux would provide the perfect tonic for the Reds ahead of tomorrow’s derby clash at home to Bury.
Last season’s player of the year trained with Stanley this week with a view to rejoining the Reds on loan from Crewe.
And there was more good news for the Stanley faithful as Piero Mingoia’s recent form was rewarded with a new contract to the end of next season.
“It came as a bit of a surprise but I’m over the moon,” said the midfielder. “I’ve just got to keep on going and continue to repay the manager’s trust.”
Molyneux earned a move to Crewe last summer after steering the Reds to League Two survival with a run of eight goals in 12 games at the end of last term, most of them stunning long-range strikes.
The versatile left-footer, who turns 25 next month, was offered a new contract by Stanley but was expected to be snapped up by a League One club given his thrilling finish to the season.
He ultimately signed a two-year deal with Crewe but the move hasn’t worked out as well as anticipated, with Molyneux becoming a forgotten man at Gresty Road.
Although Molyneux came off the bench in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against the Reds in September, that was one of just nine games he’s played for the Alex, including four starts.
Despite dropping back into League Two on loan at Rochdale in November, he only made three substitute appearances.
But captain Luke Joyce reckons Molyneux is ready to get back in the groove at the club that gave him the chance to kick-start his career last season.
“He’s been starved of first-team football so he’s chomping at the bit to get back involved,” said the Stanley skipper.
“We know how good he is and what he can do, and I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to coming back.”
After having a loan spell with Stanley early last season, Mingoia joined the Reds on a permanent basis following his release by Watford last summer.
The 22-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Reds and has established himself as a first-team regular, making 19 league starts this term and scoring the winner at Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup.
Molyneux’s arrival boosts what is already a competitive squad, with George Bowerman replacing Danny Webber at Cheltenham last Saturday and scoring on his return to the starting XI, while loanee Craig Roddan didn’t even make the bench.
The Reds’ 2-1 victory saw them climb four places to 18th and go a point above Bury, who had to settle for a 0-0 draw at home to third-placed Burton.
Stanley then visit Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night, returning to the scene where they secured their Football League status for this season thanks to a 40-yard free-kick from Molyneux.
Rovers have struggled again this term and are 22nd, one point above the drop zone, heading into their home game against Newport tomorrow.
Like Stanley, the Pirates have taken five points from their last four league games after last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at York.